Information on the rumored
home automation SDK coming from Apple has now been confirmed during WWDC. HomeKit will allow developers to pair their devices with Apple smartphones, allowing for new reaches in home automation control through iOS. An additional layer of software does not appear to be needed, but HomeKit will operate on a single protocol.
During the WWDC presentation on developer tools, Craig Federighi introduced the HomeKit API. The tool will give a framework for developers, enabling them to build specifically for the hardware and iOS rather than having to work from the ground up on their own applications. HomeKit won't be its own app as previously thought, but it will still give developers a quicker route to make their products iOS ready.
According to Federighi, HomeKit will be a "common network protocol with secure networks to ensure only your iPhone can open your garage door or unlock your door."
Compatible devices are listed as some of the more common automated items that have been released to market thus far, including doors, locks, lights, thermostats and security cameras. Other pieces that have been hitting the market more recently that were mentioned including smart plugs and switches. However, no devices were indicated as being released by Apple themselves.
Devices will be able to be securely paired to an iOS device, as well as have control given on an individual basis. Groups of "scenes" can be setup using the tool, allowing sections of automated devices in a home to be controlled under a single banner. Federighi commented that users would be able to use Siri to issue commands like "get ready for bed," which could tell the devices attached to a group in the house to turn out all the lights and lock the doors.
In the long run, by creating a central place for these devices to run, the process may help developers create a common protocol standard certified by Apple. Companies will have to participate in a certification program to have their devices available to Apple hardware. Current partners indicated during the presentation include Phillips and Honeywell.